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Friends of FANA News - December 2007

Colombian Embassy Holiday Program for Children

            On Saturday December 8th, Ambassador Carolina Barco played host to Friends of FANA children and their families at her residence for a holiday program filled with traditional Colombian art, music and snacks. The program included a brief presentation about the sculptures by Colombian artist Hugo Zapata. More than 100 people attended this highly successful event. The Ambassador is already talking about the program for next year. Friends of FANA is grateful to Ambassador Barco and the entire Embassy staff for helping to keep our children connected to their heritage and culture.

News from the FANA Anniversary: Travel Notes from the Bucher/Jessey Family

            This past August our family had the good fortune to attend the 35th anniversary of FANA and then explore Bogota, mountainous countryside outside of the city, and the colonial Caribbean seaport of Cartagena.  It was our daughter's (12) and son's (10) first trip to Colombia since we adopted Noah in early 1998.  They returned home with better appreciation for and interest in their birth country, the people, FANA, and their own history. The three-day anniversary celebration provided a wonderful interactive opportunity to learn about FANA by building relationships with current FANA children and other adoptees from around the world, including many young adults who also were experiencing their first return to FANA. The highlight of the event was on Sunday during an emotion-filled presentation ceremony in FANA's packed auditorium.  Many children from the Friends of FANA groups in attendance (Washington, Buffalo, Minnesota, Connecticut, France, and Australia) held an infant for a portion of the walk down the center aisle on the way to the baby's new family waiting patiently on stage-- each child handing very carefully the baby to another adopted FANA next in line. You could see and feel the pride each of our children had in being part of the ceremony.  It was especially moving to watch a father from Minnesota, himself a FANA child many years ago, receive his new daughter.  After the exhilaration of the anniversary weekend, it was nice to have some time to relax and tour Colombia.  In addition to seeing old familiar landmarks and many new sites of a much changed Bogota since 1998, we arranged a white water rafting trip on the Rio Negro (about 2.5 hours northwest of Bogotá) and then ventured on to Cartagena. The trip was a wonderful experience for our whole family -- each of us taking away special memories; we plan on returning for the 40th anniversary, if not sooner.

News from Colombia

            The political news from Colombia has improved significantly over the past few years. As such, tourism is booming. Bogotá — the fourth-largest city in South America — is drawing tourists with its cultural diversity and colonial charms. There is a similar resurgence of tourism in Cartagena. Three U.S.-based airlines — JetBlue, US Airways and Spirit Airlines — recently applied for the chance to offer direct flights into Bogotá. Our gem in the Andes won’t be a secret for much longer.

Membership Request

            It’s time to renew your membership with Friends of FANA. A membership form is included with this letter. Your dues help support our many activities – the Annual Fiesta, picnics, events at the Embassy, a Membership Directory as well as our general operating costs such as mailings and the website. Please keep us growing with your dues payment.

Fundraising Update

            So far in 2007 we have granted $50,000 to FANA. Thank you for your generous and tireless support. Because of the financial situation at FANA, we would like to finish the year with an additional grant.  As you complete your membership form and write your check, please think about the value of your contribution to the children of FANA and of Colombia. Your generosity makes an incredible difference.

Friends of FANA is Going Electronic

            Starting with our next newsletter, Friends of FANA, DC newsletters will be published and sent by email.  Moving to email delivery will allow us to more effectively and instantaneously keep you informed of FANA news, events and provide you more opportunities to interact with our website and our membership.  More importantly, it is both cost-effective and environmental friendly. Please be sure to include your email address on the enclosed membership/donation form (or on the online form). If you do not have email access you may request paper delivery.